Star Trek Beyond (4 stars)

New director Justin Lin boldly steers the latest instalment in the rebooted sci-fi franchise to new heights

Justin Lin (Fast & Furious) replacing director JJ Abrams. Simon Pegg co-writing the script. John Cho’s Sulu revealed as gay. Star Trek Beyond, the third in the re-jigged sci-fi franchise, arrives ringing in the changes; most poignantly, it’s the last time fans will see Anton Yelchin, who died recently in a tragic accident, as USS Enterprise member Chekov. With a nod also in the film to Leonard Nimoy, Chris Pine’s Captain James T Kirk toasting ‘absent friends’, it’s an unexpectedly emotional experience.

This aside, Lin delivers a robust entry into the canon that’s far more thrilling than Abrams’ disappointing last outing, Star Trek Into Darkness. With the Enterprise crew almost three years into their five year mission, the story pits them against the villainous Krall (Idris Elba); an alien warmonger whose bee-like minions bring down Kirk’s vessel, forcing the crew to crash-land on a planet as their nemesis claims ‘without struggle, you will never know who you truly are’.

With the Enterprise personnel, including Bones (Karl Urban), Mr. Spock (Zachary Quinto) and Lt Uhura (Zoe Saldana) either stranded, injured or imprisoned, it’s left to Scotty (Pegg) to save the day, when he meets the resourceful Jaylah (Sofia Boutella), an ass-kicking alien hiding out down below. Boutella is as excellent as she was in Kingsman and eclipses Elba, who struggles to make his presence felt under layers of prosthetics.

The film blends the obligatory big-spectacle action – including Kirk once again proving how adept he is on a motorbike – with some well-timed gags, Pegg making his presence felt in the script as well as on screen. Fleet of foot, it all adds up to a highly satisfying Starfleet adventure which boldly goes beyond expectations.

General release fom Fri 22 Jul.

Star Trek Beyond

  • 4 stars
  • 2016
  • US
  • 1h 22min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Justin Lin
  • Written by: Simon Pegg
  • Cast: Chris Pine, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Zachary Quinto, Simon Pegg, Anton Yelchin, John Cho
  • UK release: 22 July 2016

Third film in the rebooted sci-fi series.